Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 – 11:00 pm | Page 3A
Last Modified: Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012 – 8:15 am

Jerry Brown has amassed a strong record of winning California elections in a career that’s spanned more than four decades, beginning with a seat on the Los Angeles community college board in 1969.

Brown has been elected governor three times, mayor of Oakland twice and attorney general and secretary of state once each. He sponsored a successful political reform initiative in 1974 and associated himself with another successful spending limit campaign five years later.

Brown’s most conspicuous failure came in 1982, when Pete Wilson beat him badly for a U.S. Senate seat.

His Senate defeat notwithstanding, Brown is used to political success in California, even if his three presidential campaigns didn’t go very far.

But he’s now facing the possibility of defeat in what he hoped would be the signal accomplishment of his second governorship – persuading voters to raise taxes and close, albeit temporarily, a chronic state budget deficit.

Fixing California’s budget was Brown’s major campaign theme in 2010, 28 years after leaving the governorship. He could succeed where other governors – such as predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger – had failed, he told voters, while promising that he wouldn’t raise taxes without their approval.

All major polls – the venerable Field Poll, most recently – have found that his sales and income tax measure, Proposition 30, is standing below 50 percent just days before the election.

Support has declined from the summer, but the movement has leveled off, giving the measure some chance Tuesday.

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